Extreme Makeover: MAST edition

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Men in hard hats and the singsong sound of jackhammers greeted the students and faculty of MAST at the dawn of this school year. Changes have come to MAST. The cafeteria has been expanded, and construction is taking place at our doorstep. Our student body has nearly doubled. The path is being paved for the 6th and 7th grades. With all of these changes, it is no surprise that a myriad of rumors have arisen regarding them. Here are the facts.

This year brought a new parking situation at MAST. For the first time in the history of the school, students and staff were required to obtain parking decals. Due to the limited space of the new Marine Stadium parking lot, only 40 parking spots were available for students. Of these, 35 spots were allotted to seniors, while five spots were allotted to juniors. While this seems like few spots, administrators are working on ensuring that everyone who needs a parking spot receives one.

“We have been monitoring the parking lot to find out who has been using their parking decals. If you don’t park for 10 consecutive days, your pass will be revoked and given to someone else who needs one” said Activities Director Jennifer Fernandez.

There are (officially) 11 people on the waiting list who did not receive parking decals. These students either did not make the lottery, or in many cases turned in incomplete or late applications. The administration is optimistic that everyone who drives to school will have a parking space eventually.

As for construction, a tentative completion date is set for July 2015. A four story building is being erected. The first two stories will be a parking garage while the upper two stories will be classrooms. The building will be constructed so that the original MAST building will still be seen from the Rickenbacker Causeway. Students from both the Cambridge and Maritime programs will be using the building. After construction on the new building is completed, the portables will be demolished and replaced with a parking lot as well a concessions area equipped with additional bathrooms.

The freshman class has between 250-260 students, which will become the average class size from this year forward. However, the eighth grade class will remain at around 110 students. When the sixth and seventh grades are eventually added, they will also have class sizes of around 110 students.

“The logistics are still being worked out as to when 6th and 7th grade will be added. It could be next year or it could be the year after.” Principal Josephine Otero said.

In addition to a new building, there will also be some indoor renovation within MAST. Room 39 will be converted into two science labs. The engineering room will be completely renovated with new equipment, tables, and machines. There will also be other small changes made around the building.

A number of students this year had major issues with their schedules. Some students were missing entire class periods; others were missing core math or science classes, and still others had two first periods or two six periods, amongst a myriad of other scheduling issues.

“This year there were glitches with the program that creates the schedules. For instance, the two first periods or two six periods that many students saw on their schedules was a result of a glitch,” Otero said.

However, the principal maintains that the scheduling situation this year was no better or worse than the scheduling situation last year.

“Most of the major schedule changes were made during the first two or three days of school. We were at the same place last year. We are making progress and hope to have everyone’s schedule fixed and class sizes leveled as soon as possible.”

The first month of school was full of changes but hopefully there will be smooth sailing from now on.